BUSINESS

Legal challenges could slow UK mobile internet

TAGs: mobile internet, Ofcom

The UK's plans for 4G mobile Internet slowedThe chief executive of the UK’s communications regulator has warned that the country risks being left behind if legal cases that threaten to affect the auction of 4G licenses are not dropped by the companies involved.

Speaking earlier this week, Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, outlined plans for the auction of the new high-speed wireless Internet network, which will enable speeds of up to 100mbps. The auction will take place in 2012 but the slowdown will mean many will have to wait for a lot longer than that.

It’s thought that many Britons won’t have access until 2014 at the earliest after a legal challenge was lodged by the UK’s largest mobile operator, Everything Everywhere, the partnership between Orange and T-Mobile. Their complaints are due to the reallocation of certain low-frequency bandwidth to O2 and Vodafone that fails to “significantly reduce the dominance” of the two firms as they have a much better service in rural areas.

“Do I wish that we hadn’t had any dispute and debate and delay? Of course I do, but let’s be realistic,” Richards said. “This is a massive debate of huge economic importance to a lot of very powerful companies and of huge importance to the country. We shouldn’t be surprised or uncomfortable that there is a rigorous and thorough debate. This matters to people, it matters to companies, it matters to us, it matters to consumers.”

Not only will this be huge news for the legions of men who go for a bit of “me time” with the laptop in the back bedroom it will also have a profound effect on the online gambling industry. This is down to the fact that mobile gambling is the fastest growing sector in the gambling industry at present and anything that can boost the sector will be welcomed with open arms.

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